By Sen. John Thune
Exactly two weeks after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law, which represents the first major successful tax reform effort in a generation, business after business was lining up to announce they were awarding bonuses to more than 1 million workers around the country. More take-home pay for American workers means more opportunities for them and their families to succeed.
Now, just a few weeks later, less than two months after our pro-growth bill became law, more than 350 companies from all corners of the country, including South Dakota, have announced that more than 4.2 million American workers are receiving bonuses, higher wages, or expanded benefits thanks to tax reform.
The list of companies seems to grow by the day: Charter Communications, Inc., Walmart, Cigna Corporation, Capital One, Webster Financial Corporation, Humana, and of course, Great Western Bancorp and Aaladin Industries, Inc., right here in South Dakota, just to name a few.
And then there are all of the companies that are deciding to invest or reinvest in the United States as a result of tax reform becoming the law of the land.
For example, Apple announced it will bring home and invest nearly $250 billion – that’s billion with a “b” – in cash it has been keeping overseas because of our uncompetitive tax system. It also announced that it will create 20,000 new jobs, too. Fiat Chrysler announced that it will be adding 2,500 jobs in the United States to produce pickups that it has been making in Mexico. And JP Morgan Chase is adding 4,000 new jobs and opening 400 new branches.
In addition, companies are finding other ways to channel the benefits they are seeing from tax reform back into the economy. For instance, utility companies, like Black Hills Energy in South Dakota, are working with utility regulators to pass along tax savings to customers through rate reductions.
All of these examples, which only begin to scratch the surface of the positive tax reform stories that have been reported lately, are good news for the U.S. economy, but they’re even better news for the American workers and consumers who help support it.
One of my top priorities during the tax reform debate was to help create a system that made it easier for businesses to increase investments here in the United States, hire new workers, and increase wages and benefits. At least in the short term, as evidenced by the growing list of companies that are citing tax reform as their reason to boost worker compensation or expand their operation, it’s working.
It’s working because we lowered tax rates across the board for owners of small and medium-sized businesses, farms, and ranches. We expanded business owners’ ability to recover investments they make in their businesses, which will free up cash that can be reinvested in their operations and their workers. We lowered our nation’s massive corporate tax rate, which up until January 1 was the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. And we finally brought our international tax system into the 21st century.
Aside from the bonuses, higher wages, and expanded benefits, a majority of American workers will soon see an additional boost in their paycheck thanks to lower individual tax rates, too, which is why I’m confident the good news we’re hearing today is just the beginning.
At the end of the day, tax reform is really about giving the American taxpayer greater control over the money they work so hard to earn. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act returned a lot of that control to taxpayers, which means they are the real winners here, and that is exactly the way it should be.